Body Positivity – A gimmick or a welcomed change to retail & beauty marketing?

As the summer is fast approaching, more beauty and retail brands are pushing a new angle for their campaigns – Self Love and Body Positivity and it’s a trend which I hope sticks!

Why is there a need to move away from traditional Beauty/Retail marketing techniques?

A huge reason for this welcomed change is that consumers have become so accustomed to seeing perfectly polished models in magazines, beauty ads and on social media that it no longer leaves any kind of significant impact.

Consumers regard these marketing materials with increased scepticism and don’t believe the same look will be able to be achieved at home without the experts to hand, or without the catwalk ready physique.

What’s caused this dramatic change in approach in an industry, which has had the same strategy for decades?

There has been a significant influx of influence over the beauty and retail market with opinion formers and leaders of all calibres breaking the mould in what’s considered beautiful and not shying away from speaking out about it. Changes such as this, and movements by large brands who are promising to be more transparent, have set the bar and added competitive pressure for other brands to compete and remain relevant in an industry, which desperately needed to become more real.

Now that big brands such as ASOS are promising to not retouch images and leaving the models just as they are, it is leading the way in the industry as others follow suit. In addition to being a powerful and transformative movement, it is just a simple step for ASOS and other retailers to take in order to build a stronger and more personable brand.

Are these campaigns working?

These campaigns can achieve high levels of engagement and emotional connections. For example, Dove’s campaign ‘My Beauty, My Say’ was rewarded with high engagement and emotional intensity throughout. This inevitably leaves a memory on the consumers mind about the brand and could in fact influence their purchasing behaviour going forward.

Is there a risk of body positivity being used as marketing tactic?

Probably, as consumers will have caught on to the sad truth that many brands are just promoting transparency and realness to keep up with the trend as opposed to transmitting any real authenticity. In order for brands to make an emotional connection to the consumers, they need to make body positivity and transparency and integral part of their entire brand rather than just a ploy for marketing purposes.

There are some powerful self-love and body positivity moments from the last year, which we would like to celebrate to spread the positivity: 

#MakeYourMark – by Missguided

Similar to Asos, this campaign was completely unretouched and featured eight body-positive activists.

 #LabelsAreForClothes – by River Island

The campaign brought a diverse cast of faces and voices together to banish the idea of stereotypes. The label was also teamed up with an anti-bullying charity for the campaign.

#EveryBODYinPLT – by Pretty Little Thing

Launched for International Women’s Day the campaign was encouraging women across the globe to embrace themselves as they are. This led to their most inclusive photo-shoot to date which gain over 1 million views in 72 hours.

#LetsFeelGood – by Boots

Boots are doing their bit to promote body confidence with their #LetsFeelGood campaign which works to dismiss all the stipulated anxiety associated with getting ‘Summer Body Ready’.

In conclusion, there has definitely been a positive shift in the way brands are carrying out their campaigns now with a massive focus towards a wider, more inclusive audience.


Written by one of our Account Executives, Mia.